Health Highlights: July 18, 201307/18/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Daughter Says Mandela Has Made 'Dramatic Progress'
Anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela has made "dramatic progress"
in his health and could leave the hospital "anytime soon,"
according to his daughter Zindzi.
On the eve of Mandela's 95th birthday on Thursday, his daughter
told Britain's Sky TV that he is gaining "energy and strength," and
"I think he will be going home anytime soon," the
"I visited him yesterday and he was watching television with headphones," Zindzi said in the interview. "He gave us a huge smile and raised his hand ... He responds with his eyes and his hands."
Her description is in stark contrast to the one in court
documents filed by the family earlier this month which said Mandela
was on life support and near death. Mandela has been in hospital
since June 8 and officials say his condition is critical but
Give Chickenpox Drug as Soon as Possible After Exposure: CDC
A drug called Varizig should be given to patients as soon as
possible and within 10 days after they're exposed to the chickenpox
virus, according to updated recommendations released by the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC also said that Varizig should be given to people who are
at high risk for severe chickenpox or to those who are not
considered protected against chickenpox or cannot receive the
chickenpox vaccine, such as certain groups of newborns and
premature babies, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant
Varizig (varicella zoster immune globulin) is approved in the
U.S. to minimize chickenpox symptoms when given to people after
they've been exposed to the virus that causes the disease. The
updated recommendations appear in the July 18 issue of
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the
Since the U.S. chickenpox vaccination program began in 1996,
there has been a significant decline in the number of people with
the illness, but cases still occur, the CDC noted.
MERS Not a Global Health Emergency: WHO
A new respiratory virus that's killed 45 people is spreading so
slowly that it does not amount to a global health emergency and no
travel restrictions will be issued for now, according to the World
The decision about Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) was
made after the second meeting of the agency's emergency committee
of outside experts to assess the risks of the virus,
The New York Timesreported.
MERS, which is related to SARS, has been fatal in more than half
of the 84 known cases. Most of those cases have been in Saudi
Arabia or other Middle Eastern countries, in travelers recently
returned from the region, or in family members of those travelers
or health workers who treated them.
The source of MERS is unknown, as is the number of undiagnosed
mild cases. On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia said that it had recently
tested nearly 1,460 blood samples and found only two mild cases of
Scientists Shut Down Extra Chromosome Linked to Down
It's possible to shut down the extra chromosome that causes the
intellectual disabilities and development problems in people with
Down syndrome, according to a new study.
People with Down syndrome are born with three, not the usual
two, copies of chromosome 21. Working with human cells grown in
laboratory dishes, the University of Massachusetts Medical School
team found a way to suppress expression of that extra chromosome,
The findings, published in the journal
Nature, suggest that it may be possible to find a way to
shut down the extra chromosome in people.
"It really is revolutionary, in terms of causing us all to rethink the one impossible thought -- can you make, functionally, that extra chromosome disappear," Dr. Brian Skotko, co-director of the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, told the Globe.
"I don't think any of us thought it was possible or even within the current realm of scientific dreaming," said Skotko, who was not involved in the study.
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